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Nerve Pain

Nerve pain refers to pain caused by damage or diseases that affects the nerves or the nervous system of the body.

It is also known as neuropathic pain or neuralgia.

Nerve pain is a type of pain that comes from problems with signals from the nerves. It is entirely different from the standard type of pain that is due to an injury or trauma (even these 2 have a large difference too).

Most post-acute injury pain is known as nociceptive pain.

Nerve Pain Symptoms

Nerve pain...can feel like a myriad of different things.

Some patient report feeling electrical sensations, whereas another reports jolts of intense electricity. Another may feel nerve pain like a shooting pain, whereas another feels like they're being stabbed.

Some report feeling sudden sharp spikes or cuts.

Some feel extra sensitive to the touch, or cold or even to blowing winds against their skin.

Some say that they feel like ants are biting their skin, some feel like their skin is very thick, and hard to feel. 

What Causes Nerve Pain?

Nerve pain is usually caused by an injury or disease that affects your central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) or the nerves that run to your muscles and organs. Common causes are either an injury to your brain, spine or nerves or poor blood supply to your nerves.

Various conditions can affect your nerves and cause nerve pain.

Familiar sources of nerve pain include:

  • Shingles (post-herpetic neuralgia)
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Phantom limb pain following an amputation
  • Cancer
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Chemotherapy
  • HIV infection
  • Alcoholism
  • Other nerve disorders

Nerve Pain & Nociceptive Pain

Unfortunately...patients CAN and often suffer from both nerve pain and nociceptive pain at the same time, because the same injury or condition can cause both types of pains.

Nerve Pain Treatment (medicine)

Most traditional painkillers such as paracetamol or anti-inflammatories arent very effective against neuropathic or neurogenic pain.

You will need other nerve-linked painkillers, which you need to consult a doctor for more advice and options on that.

NERVE PAIN TREATMENT (physiotherapy)

Nerve pain treatment is typically a very effective component of physiotherapy intervention, depending on the type, severity and location of the nerve injury and nerve pain.

Physiotherapy for nerve pain is a common treatment option that works to achieve results in

  1. reducing nerve pain
  2. minimising discomfort and 
  3. restoring movement, strength and stamina

Nerve physiotherapy is successful in relieving nerve pain that's caused by nerve irritation or compression.

Depending on the area of the body that is involved, expect the following physio treatments:

  • Spinal mobilization: this treatment involves manual mobilization or computerized spinal traction (in some cases manipulation of the spinal joints where safe and appropriate) to increase flexibility and mobility of the neural tissue. The process involves the release of restrictive muscles and joints that are compressing or placing pressure on nerves and limiting movement. This kind of treatment often has a desensitizing effect on the local neural tissue to calm a patient’s symptoms.

  • Dry needling: using very thin acupuncture needles, we insert them into specific muscles. This treatment can reduce tension in the muscles and restore normal muscle function and range of motion fairly quickly (patients often get surprised). Dry needling can be effective in pain relief and bring relief of specific nerve-related pains and injuries.

  • Massage therapy: one of the most well known techniques of pain management in the nervous system. By gently applying targeted pressure to soft tissue and muscles and combining various techniques such as kneading, friction, compression, and vibration, patients can experience nerve pain relief as well as improved circulation, flexibility and movement

  • Exercises for joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons: physio for nerve pain in the leg is often best treated with controlled and targeted exercise routines that strengthen and optimize muscle function. 

  • Stretching: along with exercise, stretching should be part of any daily treatment routine for nerve pain, especially in the elbows, wrists, knees and legs. Stretching after exercise is important because the muscles are then warm before stretch, making it much more effective when stretching cold

  • Education to minimize pressure and irritation: physiotherapy aims to educate and change certain lifestyle habits that may be causing or aggravating to nerve pain. This may include decreasing specific foods, timing or activities